The MFN Advisory Board

The MFN Advisory Board consists of three At-Large Board members and representatives from each Moving Forward Network region. At-Large Advisory Board members are individuals from involved organizations who contribute experience and expertise to the leadership of the Network. Regional representatives are regional leaders who serve as the point person for their region, help facilitate activities and programs at the regional level and build capacity and lend their expertise and perspectives to MFN organizational decision-making.

Regional Representatives

Kim Gaddy

Kim represents the New York/New Jersey region of the Moving Forward Network. Kim is the Environmental Justice Organizer for Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund, Port Commissioner for the City of Newark, Vice-Chair for NJDEP and Environmental Justice Advisory Council and Coordinator for GI Reformers for Newark DIG (Doing Infrastructure Green).

Rachel Jefferson

Rachel represents the Kansas City region of the Moving Forward Network. Rachel is the executive director of the Historic Northeast-Midtown Association. Rachel is a recipient of the 2011 Neighborhood Leadership Award, and is an alumna of Leadership 2000, a leadership development program funded by the Kansas Leadership Center. Rachel is also a graduate of the Healthy Communities Leadership Academy, an initiative created by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Rachel has served on many boards including the National Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Review Committee and the Regional Prevention Center’s Connect the Dots Community Coalition.

Juan Parras

Juan represents the Houston/Gulf region of the Moving Forward Network. Juan has been organizing community voices for years, beginning as a social worker with the Harris County Welfare Office and later with City of Houston Section 8 Housing Department, where he organized workers at both offices. Juan eventually was elevated to be an International Union Representative for AFSCME as an International Union Representative until 1993 where his efforts reestablished MLK day and impeached Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona. In 1995, he and his wife Ana Parras formed Unidos Contra Environmental Racism, which was later renamed T.e.j.a.s (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services). Juan was an original member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), and has served on many other boards and is the recipient of several awards. He is currently an Environmental Justice Ambassador for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. With over 40 years of organizing and work from social services to labor to environmental justice, Juan Parras can attest to the empowering force behind marrying issues of intersectionality in environmental work for marginalized communities.

Mildred McClain

Mildred represents the Southeast Regional Network that includes Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Mildred is executive director of Harambee House Inc./Citizens for Environmental Justice in Savannah, Georgia. Dr. McClain has been a human rights activist and teacher for over 40 years. She serves on EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. 

Taylor Thomas 

Taylor represents the Southern California region of the Moving Forward Network. She has supported organizing for quality and affordable education, and worked with folks experiencing homelessness. Taylor is the Policy Analyst for East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and lives in Long Beach. Taylor aims to combine art, sustainability, compassion and social justice into a movement of love.

Ramsey Sprague 

Ramsey represents the Southeast Regional Network that includes Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Ramsey is the President of the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition. 

mark! Lopez

mark! represents the Southern California region of the Moving Forward Network. mark! comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel: MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist. He engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies, and taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chicanx Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Masters thesis titled “The Fire: Decolonizing ‘Environmental Justice.'” mark! joined East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice as a member three years before joining the staff. After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! is now the Executive Director. He organizes in the area where he was born, raised and continues to live. mark! is the 2017 North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Melissa Miles

Melissa represents the New York/New Jersey region of the Moving Forward Network. Melissa is the Environmental Justice Manager at the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC). She has her M.A. in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research and has spent considerable time in Brazil, which inspired her to make her home in the largely Portuguese speaking Ironbound neighborhood of Newark. After her then one-year old son was diagnosed with asthma in 2013, she discovered that air pollution was linked to many cases of childhood asthma in the city. Following this toxic trail, she learned of the legacy of environmental injustice in the Ironbound that ultimately led her to activism. That activism was a precursor to her becoming a community-based organizer with the ICC. Her focus is on mitigating air pollution related to the transportation, energy and waste infrastructure concentrated in the City of Newark. In addition to engaging Ironbound residents in creating a more just community from the ground up, she works on issues related to Climate Justice, Energy Democracy and Just Transition in collaboration with local, national and international partner organizations. Melissa sits on the Environmental Justice Council to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as the Vice-Chair of the Air Committee. She is also part of the steering committee of the Coalition for Healthy Ports.


At Large Positions

Legal and Policy Expert

Melissa Lin Perrella

Melissa is a Legal and Policy Expert At-Large Advisory Board member for the Moving Forward Network. Melissa is Senior Director of Environmental Justice for the National Resources Defense Council. Her work focuses on improving air quality in environmental justice communities affected by the freight transportation system. She is an expert on the health effect of diesel emissions, technologies for reducing air pollution from ships, trucks and locomotives, enforcing the National Environmental Policy Act and defending landmark state and local clean air programs against federal preemption claims. 

Research/Scientific Expertise


Bruce Strouble, Jr.

Bruce is a Research/Scientific At-Large Advisory Board member for the Moving Forward Network. Bruce is the Founder and Director of Citizens for A Sustainable Future, formed to ensure that the next generation of African American children benefit from thriving sustainable communities.




Youth Voice Position: Vacant

Qasimah Boston

Qasimah is a Research/Scientific At-Large Advisory Board member for the Moving Forward Network and a member of the MFN Southeast Regional Network. She is President of the Board of Directors for the Tallahassee Food Network in Florida, whose vision is an educated world that has access to food that is healthy, green, fair, accessible and affordable. Dr. Boston is a human rights activist and a global public health practitioner.